Finally! Russian Students Landed in China! And other countries?

At 16:00 on April 29, a chartered plane carrying 150 Russian students took off from Moscow to Shenzhen. Violetta, one of the students who will be joining Guangzhou South China University of technology, shared some photos online with a caption “Finally!”

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on April 29, 2022

Shenzhen TV: The spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs said at a press conference the other day that there’s no progress in Indian students’ return to China for their study. Does China have any consideration for Indian students’ return?

Zhao Lijian: Thank you for your interest. I know that Indian journalists are also very concerned about the matter. China attaches high importance to Indian students’ concern for returning to China to resume their studies, and has shared with the Indian side the procedure and experience of the return of students from other countries. The work on the return of Indian students has in fact begun and what needs to be done now is for the Indian side to submit a name list of students who have the needs to return to China. China understands that the number of Indian students is so large that it takes some time for the Indian side to collect the information. All in all, China has been prepared for the return of some Indian students. 

What I want to stress is that the current COVID situation remains complex and severe. The arrangement for the return of foreign students to China needs to be made in an coordinated manner in light of the changing international epidemic situation and the characteristics of the students’ majors. This principle applies equally to all foreign students.

PTI: I’m glad the question came up from our Chinese colleagues. It’s good to know that you are looking at this and sought a list of students from India. But are you looking at any timeline when you will be ready to open up, maybe the next month or next two months or so, so that the students back home will make some preparations for this?

Zhao Lijian: I don’t have an answer on the specific arrangement at the moment. We attach high importance to the issue of foreign students’ return to China for their studies, including Indian students. These international students are envoys for friendly exchanges between China and their home countries. After completing their studies in China, they may return home and work as journalists or diplomats, even ambassadors to China. They represent the future of our relations.

China always attaches great importance to and fully understands these students’ ardent wish to resume their studies in China. We noted that some are on government scholarship. The Chinese government has provided financial support to them in the hope that once they complete their studies, they will act as a bridge of friendship between their countries and China and contribute to the development of bilateral ties.

As to the specifics you asked about, I’m sure we will strive to provide convenience to the students through existing channels including our embassy.

Prasar Bharati: Indeed people-to-people exchanges are very important for good relations between the two countries. I’m glad to hear that China is ready to receive Indian students. In this regard I just want to inquire from you the criteria based on which you said that the Indian side will prepare the list. So has China provided any sort of criteria to the Indian side, for example, the majors or something based on which the Indian side can prepare the list, or the Indian side is free to decide on their own how to select the students who will be coming to China in the first lot?

Zhao Lijian: I’m afraid my answer might be a bit disappointing. I’m not aware of the details you are interested in. But I’m sure there will be communication on them through existing channels including our embassy to deliver on the good news.

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